Cleaning of filtering facepiece respirators contaminated with mucin and Staphylococcus aureus.Am J Infect Control. 2014 Mar; 42(3):265-70.AJ
Decontamination, cleaning, and reuse of filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) has been proposed to mitigate an acute FFR shortage during a public health emergency. Our study evaluates the ability of commercially available wipe products to clean FFRs contaminated with either infectious or noninfectious aerosols.
Three models of surgical N95 FFRs were contaminated with aerosols of mucin or viable Staphylococcus aureus then cleaned with hypochlorite, benzalkonium chloride, or nonantimicrobial wipes. After cleaning, FFRs were separated into components (nose pad, fabrics, and perforated strip), and contaminants were extracted and quantified. Filtration performance was assessed for cleaned FFRs.
Mucin removal was <1 log for all wipe products on all components. Inert wipes achieved ∼1-log attenuation in viable S aureus on fabrics from all FFR models--removal was less effective from nose pads and perforated edges. Both antimicrobial wipes achieved 3-5-log attenuation on most components, with smaller reductions on nose pads and greater reductions on perforated strips. Particle penetration following cleaning yielded mean values <5%. The highest penetrations were observed in FFRs cleaned with benzalkonium chloride wipes.
FFRs can be disinfected using antimicrobial wipe products, but not effectively cleaned with the wipes evaluated in this study. This study provides informative data for the development of better FFRs and applicable cleaning products.